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Glossary of terms
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A-B | C-D | E-F | G-H | I-K | L-N | O-Q | R-T | U-Z | [Sources]

aa lava: Hawaiian name for blocky basalt lava [LCOTE]

abyss: The deep ocean, generally over a mile in depth [LCOTE]

acanthostega: An extinct primitve Paleozoic amphibian [LCOTE]

age: A geologic time interval shorter than an epoch [LCOTE]

albedo: The amount of sunlight reflected from an object and dependent on color and texture [LCOTE]

alpine glacier: A mountain glacier or a clacier in a mountain valley [LCOTE]

amber: Fossil tree resin that has achieved a stable state after ground burial due to chemical change and the loss of volatile constituents [LCOTE]

ammonite: A Mesozoic cephalopod with flat, spiral shells [LCOTE]

amphibian: A cold-blooded, four-footed vertebrate belonging to a class midway in the development of fish of reptiles [LCOTE]

andesite: A volcanic rock intermediate between basalt and rhyolite [LCOTE]

angiosperm: Flowering plant that reproduces sexually with seeds [LCOTE]

annelid: Wormlike invertebrate characterized by a segmented body with a distinct head and appendages [LCOTE]

archaea: Primitive, bacteria-like organism living in high-temperature environments [LCOTE]

archaeocyathan: An ancient Precambrian organism resembling sponges and corals and that built early limestone reefs [LCOTE]

Archaeopteryx: Primitive, Jurassic, crow-sized bird characterized by teeth and a bony tail [LCOTE]

Archean: Major eon of the Precambrian from 4.0 to 2.5 billion years ago [LCOTE]

arthropod: The largest group of invertebrates, including crustaceans and insects, characterized by segmented bodies, jointed apendages, and exoskeletons [LCOTE]

asteroid: A rocky or metalic body, orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, and leftover from the formation of the solar system [LCOTE]

asteroid belt: A band of asteroids orbiting the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter [LCOTE]

astrobleme: Eroded remains on the Earth's surface of an ancient impact structure produced by a large, cosmic body [LCOTE]

atmospheric: The weight per unit area of the total mass pressure of air above a given point; also called barometric pressure [LCOTE]

Azoic eon: A term applied to the first half billion years of Earth history [LCOTE]

Baltica: An ancient Paleozoic continent of Europe [LCOTE]

barrier island: A low, elongated coastal island that parallels the shoreline and protects the beach from storms [LCOTE]

basalt: A dark, volcanic rock rich in iron and magnesium and usually quite fluid in the molten state [LCOTE]

basement: The surface beneath which sedimentary rocks are not found; the igneous, metamorphic, granitized, or highly deformed rock underlying sedimentary rock [LCOTE]

batholith: The largest of intrusive igneous bodies, more than 40 square miles on its uppermost surface [LCOTE]

belemnite: An extinct Mesozoic cephalopod with a bullet-shaped internal shell [LCOTE]

bicarbonate: An iron created by the action of carbonic acid on surface rocks; marine organisms use the bicarbonate along with calcium to build supporting structures composed of calcium carbonate [LCOTE]

biogenic: Sediments composed of the remains of plant and animal life such as shells [LCOTE]

biomass: The total mass of living organisms within a specific habitat [LCOTE]

biosphere: The living portion of the Earth that interacts with all other biological and geologic processes [LCOTE]

bivalve: A mollusk with a shell comprising two hinged valves, including oysters, muscles, and clams [LCOTE]

black smoker: Superheated hypothermal water rising to the surface at a midocean ridge; the water is superheated with metals; when exiting through the seafloor, it quickly cools and the dissolved metals precipitate, resulting in black, smokelike effluent [LCOTE]

blastoid: An extinct, Paleozoic echinoderm similar to a crinoid with a body resembling a rosebud [LCOTE]

brachiopod: Marine, shallow-water invertebrate with bivalve shells similar to mollusks and plentiful in the Paleozoic [LCOTE]

bryophyte: Nonflowering plants comprising moses, liverworts, and hornworts [LCOTE]

bryozoan: A marine invertebrate that grows in colonies and characterized by a branching or fanlike structure [LCOTE]


Ed resources
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Geologic time scale

Geology museums

Glossary of terms

Mineral identification

MOHS hardness scale

US National Parks

US State Fossils

US State Gems/Minerals

US State Parks

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© 1998-2014 Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society. This page last updated 10.30.14.